Archive | December 2013

What Is Life About? Heart Advice From Parent to Child.

Parent to Child

What have you learned about life?

Write a letter to yourself when you were young. Or perhaps write a letter to kids (to a young person that you’re close to) about life. Review the following areas of life and share what you’ve learned. What advice would you give? For the letter:

  1. What have you learned about education and choosing a career?

  2. What you you learned about $$$$ and how to handle it? What is your philosophy about money?

  3. What have you learned about working together with other people? Working at a job or volunteering?

  4. What have you learned about family, relationships with family, and creating family?

  5. What have you learned about friendships and friends?

  6. What have you learned about spiritual teachers and a spiritual community?

  7. What have you learned about spiritual practice or spirituality in general?

  8. What have you learned about ethical values and living according to them?

  9. Generally speaking, what have you learned about living and dying?

  10. What have you learned about how to deal with success and failure?

  11. What is trust? How do you create it?

  12. How do you repair it when it is broken?

  13. What have you learned from others? From making mistakes?

  14. What have you learned about success and failure and how to handle them?

  15. What have you learned about the cycles of life and how to handle them?

  16. What have you learned about trust, risk-taking, and caution? Attempting anything new takes a risk. Be cautious about breaking ethical discipline. Don’t be filled with fear. Trust if you create a life in a spirit of service, altruism, and self-reflection, you will be guided into the greatest good for yourself and others.

  17. What have you learned about humor? Humor helps you laugh at yourself and others and to take things lightly, and not to be so serious! Remember, suffering CAN be transformed into well-being!

Note: These questions were given by Thubten Chodron to our discussion group at a recent retreat. The retreat focused on developing inner wisdom in our lives. For additional teachings from Thubten Chodron explore the Various Meditations section. Below I share what answers I came up with for myself as a little boy.


To Little Bobbie, I LOVE you!

Little Bobbie

I don’t have all of the answers, but I will share with you what I have learned.

Sweetheart, life is an amazing, awesome, and sometimes very challenging schoolroom. Everyone is here learning lessons. We are really stewards of everything. Everything is on loan to us. We came into this earth owning nothing, and we will leave it in the same way.

Parents, teachers, and family will share their knowledge with you and support you as you grow and learn. We are all imperfect and will make mistakes. We might sometimes harm you in some way. We will get confused, overwhelmed, and say or do things that we later regret. You will also. Help us nurture forgiveness.

Just because you MAKE a mistake, you aren’t a mistake!

You are always worthy of LOVE.

Life is a series of lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works.”

We learn to walk by falling down and getting back up.

What you make of your life is up to you. You will be provided with many tools and resources that you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours. You have within you an AMAZING potential. It is like a “seed” in a garden that is planted. To help that seed grow it will require regular tending: water, fertilizer, weeding, and patience.

You have a precious human birth which includes a body. It needs many things to keep it physically healthy. You also have mental, emotional, and spiritual needs as a part of your sacred existence.


To figure out what YOU need to keep you well–in all dimensions–is an experiment. Although there are some wonderful guidelines and suggestions in each area to follow. I will share with you what I know.

Your answers to your life’s challenges and questions lie INSIDE of you!

Practice daily quiet reflection and study.


The world will tell you that SUCCESS is having lots of $$$, status, education, possessions, a certain job, lots of friends, and great influence. It will put LOTS of pressure on you to achieve, to acquire “things,” to “be somebody rich and famous,” and be really busy…                                                       


I say, take time each day to develop your “most precious inner seed.” Your body is small now, but it will grow stronger and bigger. You will develop all kinds of abilities (physical and others) and then your body will gradually get old. It will age: 10–> 20–> 30–> 40–> 50–> 60–> 70–> years old and then, you will die. You may live that long if you’re lucky. Many people die much sooner.

So sweetheart, what then is the most important thing in your life?

It is your POTENTIAL for complete development into an extraordinarily kind, generous, thoughtful, wise, loving, and compassionate person. So really, the most important thing you can learn about is your inner spiritual education and practice. For me, this PATH has provided incredible answers to life’s mysterious deepest challenges and explains the path or process from inner confusion to complete inner well-being. For me, that blessing and gift is to be shared with all other people. The goal: harm no one, bless everyone (including you!).

Practice Kindness

With that said (about inner education and spiritual development), you will also need OUTER education to develop your multiple talents and skills. Again, as you learn all of these outer things–I encourage you to go inside. Set your motivation–the reason why you are doing something. Keep in balance as much as possible, which is at times very challenging, since life is ALWAYS changing (impermanent). We can’t frequently CONTROL outer things, just your response to them.

I would encourage you to find a job (your right livelihood) that uses your talents, that helps you learn and grow, that provides a valuable service to the world, and as a consequence, provides you $$$ to meet your financial needs. Choose a career that is a blessing to the world and harms no one.


Self-discipline (guided inner, flexible structure and ethics) is an essential practice for you to achieve your highest dreams.

You will benefit greatly from PLANNING for your life’s choices. This includes using $$$ wisely. Providing for your (and perhaps your family’s) reasonable needs. Consider also being generous: supporting those in need, spiritual groups, and those who are struggling. I encourage you to practice not just financial generosity, but also be generous with your time, support, listening, sharing knowledge, spiritual insights, and volunteering. Discover the joys of working together!


 Oh sweetheart, all of life is about relationships.

Everything is interconnected and depends on everything else. This is true from the galaxy to the smallest atom. From the whole world, to our family. We don’t do anything alone.


Socio-Ecological Model

Although you can care deeply for the whole world and each individual family member–each person is the owner of their own happiness. They create what they experience. You create what you experience. You are the owner of your own choices. Your (and my) happiness and unhappiness arise out of your (my) actions of body, speech, and mind, and choices in attitudes and perceptions–and NOT from outside forces. These causes exist within me and you and others. Everything unfolds according to the law of Karma (sowing and reaping). Everything is changing constantly.

Honor the suffering of each person and what it teaches them. It is not your job to fix the world. You can care for all people, and share your gifts, talents, resources–but THEY have to choose to do something. If they consistently practice harmful choices, you have the right to NOT be in relationship with them.

Each person is a collection of healthy and harmful patterns.

 Each person has strengths, weaknesses, and limitations.

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The area of intimate, personal relationships will be one of the most challenging areas. I have needed to seek advice from trained counselors, and have read many books to help me understand the wisdom of how to create healthy relationships. The Dharma (spiritual teachings) is also a wealth of wisdom. Intimate relationships are wonderful gifts of support and sharing–with family and friends. We practice: generosity, ethics, kindness, open and honest communication, acceptance, setting healthy limits, forgiveness, loving support, and patience.

Treat others in ways that would make YOU smile and feel deeply cared for.

Treat them in the same way as you would yourself–

with compassion and complete respect!

Shine the Light of Loving Self-Care

Oh dear one, all things are cyclical and impermanent. The success you experience is due to your efforts and many supportive factors and the help of others. Offer the success up as a benefit to others. You will have cycles of failure–when things end, fall apart, or don’t go your way. Just let it all go.

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Again, remember your ENLIGHTENED potential. Remember that you own nothing, and are not what you own or accomplish. These are NOT your real identities. So I encourage you to plan time for self-reflection to contemplate your life’s lessons. Contemplate generosity, ethical behaviors, karma (cause and effect), wisdom, ethics, calming down your mind, and the joyous effort of celebrating your life!

uncondition love ROSE

A spiritual teacher (and community) should be a role model for all of the principles that they teach. We need the regular support of others to grow spiritually. Use your wisdom and intelligence to choose a path that feels right for you. I love the Buddhist path (for me, it has been like spiritual cognitive therapy and explained life’s problems and how to transform them). But–check it out–any path out. Don’t just believe me. Use your intelligence to see if these teachings feel right for you. Different faiths fit different people. They have similar goals: to increase love, compassion, kindness, growth in ethics and morals, and universal responsibility.

As you daily practice living each day, remember you will someday die. Consider that it’s a natural cycle. So, practice each day with the principles that I have shared with you. That will increase people’s TRUST in you. Your words and intensions will match your actions! That will increase people’s confidence in you. They will know that they can depend on you. You will be a blessing to the world.

Gently remember sweetheart, that you aren’t perfect. So, when you goof, just admit it. Figure out what happened, and make plans not to repeat that action (choice) again in the future. That practice will repair people’s trust for you in the future.

So in conclusion, if you choose to live according to all these ideas that I have shared with you, when you die you will have no regrets and your life will have been a blessing to many people. You will die with peace and contentment. You will have used this life well in the continual evolution of your “subtle consciousness” (soul) to the development of your “enlightened seed potential” for the benefit of your fellow travelers in Earth’s schoolroom.

HUGS and love to you! Your fellow traveler, BIG BOB.

Frolic around:

Spiritual Hunger & Malaise: Why Do We Starve & How Can We Nourish Ourselves?

Relax, Observe, and Allow

Emotional—Spiritual Tune-up

Pay a visit to Bob’s story, The Emotional Area

Oneness: Celebrate the Power of Diversity!

Out of Hell, Into Freedom Thoughts

Make Your Mind an Ocean: Become Your Own Therapist!

Dedication for a Meaningful Life

Eight Aspirations of a Great Being       

The VIA Classification of Character Strengths discusses KEY mental strengths that promote life-long mental and emotional well being. It is VERY comprehensive and insightful. Visit it here: To explore how to use these strengths in yourself, visit VIA ME!

Radiate Your Light and Love to the World!

Radiate Your Light and Love to the World…..

How does your completely alive, vibrant, awake nature naturally express itself? See yourself—each day—with every interaction, in every situation, naturally exuding the following qualities:


You radiate peace and contentment, impartial love, profound compassion, infinite tenderness and kindness, complete acceptance that has perspective on life’s journey, tender caring, and non-judgment.

Envision these qualities and send them out first to yourself,

and then to all other creatures on Earth.

God's Ecstacy 

Art:  Ansgar Holmbery, CSJ  Courtesy of
For a PDF printable version of the globe meditation GLOBE MEDITATION WEBSITE.pdf

This lovely artwork is called: God’s Ecstasy by Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ. This drawing and many other wonderful products can be purchased at

Example of a Prayer Reminder

I imagine sending out loving, healing thoughts and aspirations to everyone on earth. Sending HUGS to all friends, strangers, and enemies. Don’t we all need embracing? Don’t we all need to feel loved and appreciated?


Prayer List 2


Learn How to Become Your Own Lifestyle Self Manager!

Use the

Daily Personal 5-Minute Check-In.


Your moment-by-moment choices up until now have shaped your present life. Your Moment-by-Moment Choices.pdf

Learn to become your own lifestyle trainer or coach. What do you need to be a healthy, happy camper? Learn to ask yourself: WHAT helps me stay on track? WHAT gets me off track? The more often you practice these skills, the more proficient you will become.

  Learn to be your own fitness coach—use your brain and ask the right questions!

fitness coach

I can see what I do and I can see how to change it.

Your weight and life imbalance will be transformed by achieving a greater BALANCE in mind, body and lifestyle. It is done by YOU.  The way YOU do it is to go inside yourself.  

Self nurturing is asking  yourself, “How do I feel?  What do I need?  Do I need to ask others for help?  Can I meet my needs myself?  Do I need  some ‘quiet time’ to think  things over?”  I’m worth the effort it takes!

What’s the Process? 

      Be More Aware of Your Body and Emotions:  Tune In, Take an Inner Journey

  • Let go of your external life. Release all your cares and worries. Give yourself some time and space.
  • Take a deep breath and go inside yourself into your inner life. Tune into your body and feelings.

out of stillness comes a life well lived

Pause and ask yourself these questions:

1.  Am I physically hungry?

2.  Am I experiencing stress symptoms? Check out: On The Spot Stress Managers section for stress management techniques. Consider WHAT is creating a possible imbalance? Check out: Cultivating Balance in Your Life

3. If I’m not hungry, how can I fill empty feelings that are not hunger? What do I need right now?

4Do I just need a between-meal snack?

5. Do I really want to splurge?

Look at yourself  with courage, kindness, honesty and self-respect.  Appreciate yourself!

  • Return to your external life and take any actions suggested by your journey within.

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  Every Day Remember What Your Personal Action Plan Is:

Try out new foods & recipes?

Arranged your food environment (grocery shop, set up kitchen, work, food bag) to support your success?

Keep a food log & discover patterns?

What ONE thing could you do that makes it more likely you will have a healthy food plan?

  • Physical Activity:  Move with joy each day!  Get physical with your family, use muscle power for transportation, challenge yourself. CELEBRATE every success, no matter how small!  FIVE minutes of movement is 500 % better than nothing!

Enlist the support of others? Take time for self nurturing & FUN!

To learn the skill of going inside for your answers—taking time during the day—perhaps a couple of times (perhaps when you go to the rest room), just to STOP your activities and reflect on how the creation of your day is going.

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It’s a gift to yourself when you choose to take time to meet your needs!

Divert Daily.

Withdraw Weekly.

Quit Quarterly.

                           Abandon Annually.    Janae Carver

For me, the key skill of diverting daily, withdrawing weekly, quitting quarterly, and abandoning annually (all of my normal responsibilities, other diversions, and problems in my life) has been the most valuable skill and daily practice that I have ever cultivated. This gift of introspection gives me wisdom and discernment about life’s daily challenges and opportunities. See the Daily Check-In example below.


Use The 30-Second Stop

This technique can almost instantly bring you to awareness and help you relax. It’s a great tool for giving yourself a respite in the midst of a busy day.

Whatever you’re doing, stop completely!

Freeze frame. The mind will also stop, and you will penetrate at rocket speed to your center.

For 30 seconds just be present with whatever is happening.

Are you breathing?

How is your body?

Where are you?

In the present?

In the past?

In the future?

Watch and observe, without judgment.

Then start moving again…..

Taken from Using Emotional Intelligence At Work by Lou Stagnitto

we form habits and habits form us

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To learn about making lasting changes in your life, visit: Change? Who, Me? How?,  Horse of Habit Storyand Patterns, Patterns, Everywhere! Not a Moment’s Peace!

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Daily Check-In Example

A METHOD or PATTERN for a DAILY CHECK-IN (to nurture structure and discipline). It might be done in the EVENING to see how the day went. Notice patterns, and nurture self-discipline and self-management to overcome limitations:

I followed this process in the 12-step programs. Working with another person and being accountable to them really helped me keep on track. I called them up every day and shared the UP’s and DOWN’S of my lifestyle change journey. It took about 3 – 4 months to become really skilled at this process. I learned to INTERNALIZE the skill of self-management and rigorous honesty. This is an invaluable and priceless skill to develop!

  1. What was your PLAN for today? How did it go?
  2. What kinds of stress relief (meditation or centering activity, other relaxation technique) did you do? See Ideas For Self-Nurturing or Getting to Know Your Stress and How to Management It . EXPLORE: Do You Experience Overwhelming Circumstances?
  3. Looking into the future (work, days off, shopping, cooking, trips, recreation, exercise commitment)–what PLANNING did you do to manage your self-care activities?
  4. Set up a no-fail environment: How were your meals this day (skill #6 planning and preparing delicious recipes) and What Does Bob Typically Eat In Any Given Day? How about spacing & timing (not too far apart?)? Is there food in the house? Refrigerator? At work? Did you take a food bag with you?
  5. Have you planned any blocks of time to prepare salads, rice, beans–the staples?
  6. How about creating a more active style of life, and The Power of Fun: Celebrate Enjoyable Ways To Be Active! ? Have you taken time to be more active every day? Planned for active recreation by yourself or with others? 
  7. How has your sleep been? Irregular? Regular times, amounts?
  8. Have you noticed any emotional or mental symptoms of stress today? See link at bottom.
  9. Have you taken time for FUN? Make daily self-care ENJOYABLE and not a “have to” or obligation. It is a way of deeply honoring yourself. Delight over Celebrate the Simple Joys of Life!
  10. What’s your PLAN for tomorrow?
  11. From the mistakes or errors in trying to accomplish these new habits, what lessons can be applied towards tomorrow for better success?
  12. Congratulate yourself for making the effort! Good show!

I have found the key unhealthy pattern that prevents the USE of the above skill is a person’s being over busy. If you sense that this is true for you, explore:

Delve into Additional sections of this Web site:

Go to see also: